grove and dean

Do all hairdressing businesses need public liability cover?

As the owner of a professional hairdressing business, you might operate in a variety of different ways, often falling under one of the following categories; hair salon owner, mobile hairdresser or self employed sub-contractor to a hair salon owner.

Whichever your personal circumstances, you are probably aware that the responsibility you have for your clients, employees and members of the public is far from stylish.

Your business deals with your clients’ crowning glories – an emotive subject to say the least and likely to cause grievous disconcertion if things do not go to expectations.

The tools of your trade include chemicals, heated appliances and sharp objects such as razors and scissors. These sector specific considerations alone make a solid case for your need for liability insurance in addition to the potential risks that face any other business owners from unrelated sectors.

Like them, your primary concern in relation to liability cover is the financial protection of your hairdressing business against claims that might be brought against you for damages, injuries or illnesses resulting from your professional negligence. Additionally, you have the same duty of care to any staff on your payroll, should they suffer similar accidents whilst carrying out hairdressing work on behalf of your company.

You might feel that the term professional negligence is applicable to your hairdressing operation and there are no suggestions that your business cuts corners or fails to adhere to the highest industry standards. However, the rise and rise of the no win no fee claim culture is not based on the premise that accidents are accidents that do unfortunately happen.

It thrives on the belief that when accidents and damages do occur, someone must be to blame and consequently financially responsible for compensation payouts.

Such claims might be instigated against Hairdressers for unintentional accidents suffered by clients who might slip on some spilt shampoo in your sink area or trip over a hairdryer wire. They could be burnt with curling tongs or hair straighteners during styling or nicked with scissors whilst having a trim. A colour or perm solution might cause serious damage to their hair or skin, even hair loss.

If you are mobile and visit your clients at their homes or other premises, you also risk causing unforeseen damages to their property if, for example, some peroxide solution accidentally drips on to a client’s carpet during a root touch up or highlighting treatment.

What specific public liability cover is required for your hairdressing business?

As previously identified, there are generally three categories of hairdressing business ownership or self employment under which you will fall. Your specific category provides a great pointer towards the aspects of liability insurance that are most appropriate and beneficial to you.

Public Liability

There is no Government legislation obliging you to take out a public liability policy. Yet it is highly advisable, given the potential numbers and natures of claims you might face from your clients and any accompanying persons, members of the public or suppliers. It covers you for up to £10million in compensation payment and legal expenses for any successful claims against your business.

Recommended for Hair Salon Owners and Mobile Hairdressers.

Employers Liability

You are legally bound to purchase Employers liability insurance if you have any staff at all working for your hairdressing business, whether they are full time, part time, apprentices, trainees or Saturday girls. Your staff are equally as likely as your clients to suffer industry related accidents such as burns, chemical reactions, cuts, falls and trips.

They are equally as entitled to instigate legal suits against you if incidents can be attributed to professional negligence on your part. As with public liability, Employers liability covers you for up to £10million in compensation payment and legal expenses for any successful claims against your business.

Recommended for Hair Salon Owners.

Product and Treatment Liability

Non obligatory but generally opted for out of sheer common sense, product and treatment liability is fairly self explanatory. Even if your professional credibility is upheld, clients can still instigate claims against you for damages and injuries caused by the products and treatments you use on them or sell to them.

Recommended for Hair Salon Owners and Mobile Hairdressers.

Equipment and Stock In Transit

Also optional rather than obligatory, liability cover for equipment and stock in transit offers Hairdressers peace of mind that monies will be paid out to you, rather than to claimants against you, if you suffer damages, losses or thefts.

Whilst it might appear on the surface to be targeted at Mobile Hairdressers, you might also consider it if you are a Hair Salon Owner who transports equipment and products from your Wholesalers to your premises.

Recommended for Hair Salon Owners and Mobile Hairdressers.

How do contractor and sub contractor relationships impact on hairdressers liability policies?

This is a savvy question to ask and definitive answers very much depend upon individual agreements between the Contractor, (Hair Salon Owner) and the Sub Contractor, (self employed Hairdresser). Such agreements should be discussed openly and frankly between both parties before being contractually formalised.

In the hairdressing industry, it is not in the least unusual for Hair Salon Owners to sub let ‘pitches’ to self employed Hairdressers. This growing trend has developed as it offers both professional advantages and flexibility to each party.

Insurance agreements between Contractors and Sub Contractors can work in two ways. Firstly, Contractors might fully supervise the work load of Sub Contractors and provide the appliances, products and tools for Sub Contractors to use whilst providing hairdressing services to clients on the Contractors’ premises.

In such cases, Contractors would normally be held responsible under their own public liability policy for claims brought against the business as a direct result of Sub Contractors. Likewise, it would also cover Contractors for claims made by Sub Contractors for accidents or damages suffered whilst fulfilling sub contracted hairdressing services.

Alternatively, Sub Contractors might have agreements to work at Contractors’ Salons on a more self sufficient basis, using their own appliances, products and tools. In these cases, Sub Contractors require their own public liability cover, should ownership of responsibility for accidents or damages be directly attributable to them.